The Story of My Life
(1903) is the "miracle worker" Hellen Keller's autobiography. It is the primary source used in most of the films about her, by which she is most widely known, which is ironic since she can not see or hear. The first 4 chapters are about her transition from the state of a feral child under the guidance of "teacher" who gives the unruly Hellen her first word "wha wha" (water). This scene has mythic power, as she discovers language, she is able to express herself and make a connection with others, a fundamental human need. It struck a chord, a Gallop pole
ranked her the 5th most admired person of the 20th century, behind only Mother Teresa, Gandhi, Einstein and Martin Luther King. She wrote her autobiography when only 22 years old; this has the benefit of a youthful energy, close enough to her childhood to remember it, but the final chapters lack the substance of a life yet fully lived. I found the chapter about her favorite authors and books fascinating, a life of the mind unhindered by disability. I listened to the LibriVox recording, version 2 by George Cooney
, which is excellent.
[STB, 5-2010, 259]